The Clean Vessel Act was passed in 1992 to reduce pollution from vessel sewage discharges. In 1996 the Hampton Roads Boater Education and Pump Out Internship Program was launched under the management of HRSD. The Program is funded in part by the Wildlife & Sport Fish Restoration Grant provided by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services which is administered through the Virginia Department of Health Marina Program. Other contributing sponsors include the Cities of Virginia Beach ( 2007), Norfolk (2013), Hampton (2018), and Portsmouth (2018).
Our Mission is to promote the proper disposal of sewage from boat holding tanks in order to protect public health and the waterways of Hampton Roads.
Our Goal is to prevent the dumping of sewage from boat holding tanks into waterways.
Interns educate the boating community on the public and ecological hazards of dumping vessel waste into local estuaries, creeks, rivers, the bay, and ocean. The Program also provides a free 25-gallon pump out of marine sanitation devices (MSDs).
Our interns’ staff three pickup trucks, each with a 125-gallon sewage storage tank and a portable pump out cart. Sewage is pumped out of MSDs, transferred to the truck storage tank then transported to one of the HRSD sewage treatment plants for proper treatment.
The VDH Marina Program that administers our CVA funding also provides financial assistance for the installation of pump out and sanitary waste dump stations. For more information about the VDH Marina Program and for a map of marinas with pump out facilities, click here.
No Discharge Zone
It is illegal to discharge untreated sewage from boats in all Virginia waters. A No Discharge Zone (NDZ) is a designated body of water that prohibits the discharge of treated and untreated vessel sewage. The U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) regulations require all vessels to disable the MSD discharge capability while operating in waters designated as a NDZ.
Local NDZ: The Lynnhaven River, Virginia Beach (2007)
Marine Sanitation Device (MSD)
Type I - is an on-board treatment device using a physical/chemical-based system that relies on maceration and chlorination.
Type II - is also an on-board treatment device that uses biological or aerobic digestion-based system.
Type III - is a holding tank or similar device that prevents the overboard discharge of treated or untreated sewage.
- For Type III holding tanks:
- Use enzyme deodorizers for holding tanks and portable toilets
- Pump out before you haul your boat for the winter
- Know where your closest pump out stations are located, and height or draft restrictions, seasonal closures and hours of operation
- Use our pump out service to make pumping out more convenient